A reader recently wrote in complaining about gas and bloating after drinking a green smoothie. This can happen if you are new to green smoothies.
Gas and bloating can be caused by a variety of foods or medical conditions. Since there are so many possible causes ranging from certain food combinations to serious gastro-intestinal health problems, this article will only address acute gas and bloating immediately after consuming a green smoothie. I’ll assume that you are a healthy individual who doesn’t typically get indigestion.
I will also assume that you’ve only noticed gas and bloating after drinking green smoothies (or eating more fruit than usual). If this does not describe you, you should consider consulting a licensed physician or practitioner who can diagnose the problem (perhaps it’s a food intolerance).
In my experience, the three most likely causes of gas and bloating after drinking a green smoothie are:
1 – Sudden Increase Of Fruit & Fiber
If you are coming from a typical diet, then suddenly start drinking meal-replacement green smoothies, your body may need a few days to adjust to the change.
The sudden increase of fiber and fruit can shock your digestive system. It tends to work itself out after a few days.
The simplest solution to this problem is to temporarily reduce your green smoothie consumption. If you make a full blender pitcher, drink half now and then finish the other half an hour or so later.
When I started drinking green smoothies every morning, I’d chug a whole pitcher of smoothie and felt the unpleasant aftereffects!
After cutting my intake in half, and then slowly working my way back up, I did not get gas and bloating. Now I routinely drink a 32-ounce pitcher of green smoothie in one sitting with no effects.
You might find that you can drink 16 ounces with no effects, but more than that might make you feel bloated. You might need to cut back to an 8-ounce smoothie and build up from there. It takes a little trial and error to find your tolerance limit.
While it’s rare, a condition known as fructose malabsorption may cause gas, bloating, and intestinal discomfort after eating fruit.
2 – Mixing Too Much Fat With Fruit
The second common cause for feeling bloated after drinking a green smoothie is mixing too much fat with fruit.
Fruit digests rapidly while fats from nuts and seeds take much longer to digest. While a little fat digests fine with fruit, too much fat can cause gas and bloating.
If you eat a high-fat meal, then follow it with fruit, the fat will take its precious time digesting while the fruit, held up in your intestines by the slow-digesting fatty food, ferments in your gut. As a result, you feel like a balloon that is about to pop!
Everybody is different, so while I can add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds to my green smoothie with no effects, some people might feel a little bloated after such a combination – especially if they are new to green smoothies.
If you feel bloated after drinking a smoothie with avocado, cacao, or seeds in it, switch to some ultra-simple smoothie recipes for a week and only use one type of fruit and greens.
Be sure to drink your green smoothie by itself and do not eat anything for at least two hours before and after you have your smoothie. Simply have your smoothie first thing in the morning or as a snack between meals.
Even if you can tolerate a couple slices of avocado in your smoothie, you might not be able to drink a smoothie after a high fat meal. I can’t eat nuts or any fats and then follow it with a green smoothie as it will cause bloating.
3) Food Intolerance
Some people might be sensitive to certain fruit combinations like sweet banana with acidic citrus.
Certain foods may cause digestion problem for sensitive individuals. Pineapples, kiwifruit, and citrus tend to be the most common fruits that cause digestion problem for people with sensitivities.
I have found through trial and error what foods I can safely add to or eat with my green smoothie. Unfortunately, it is different for everybody so I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. You have to figure it out for yourself.
When changing your diet, you will inevitably encounter odd digestive issues. This is normal and in most cases, will go away on its own as your body makes the transition. If you continue to experience digestive issues, you should keep a food journal and work on isolating the cause. You might have an intolerance to a certain food or food combination.
If digestive problems persist, you should consult a physician, dietitian, or licensed practitioner to ensure that your digestive system is functioning properly and to rule out any intolerance or allergies that you might have.